Seijin no Hi
Today is Seijin no Hi (成人の日, in Japanese, Coming of Age Day in English)! It’s a national holiday in Japan that celebrates the transition into adulthood for everyone that turned/will turn 20 from April 2nd of last year to this year’s April 1st. Seijin no Hi is held to congratulate the newcomers to the adult age and also to help them become aware of their new responsibilities towards society ―20 is the minimum legal age for voting, drinking, and smoking in Japan.
Seijin no Hi and its ceremonies, called Seijin-shiki (成人式), are one of the three main rites of passage in Japan (the other two are marriage and funeral ― together these rites are called “tsuka girei“). The commemorations consist in some ceremonies at the local city offices (mainly speeches), visits to shrines and the presentation of gifts to the new adults. It’s also a day in which friends and family members give some pieces of advice to those who have reached the age of majority.
Girls generally celebrate wearing a style of kimono named furisode (振袖, literally swinging sleeves) and taking tons of photos. While it is possible for the boys to wear similar traditional clothes (in this case, a dark kimono with a “men’s hakama“, a combination called “hakamashita”), most prefer to wear suits lately, leaving such clothes for strictly formal occasions, such as weddings and funerals. Boys generally celebrate in groups, attending to parties and/or going out for drinking.
Traditionally, Seijin no Hi used to be celebrated in January 15, but since 2000, as a result of the introduction of the Happy Monday System, it is now celebrated in the second Monday of January.
I’ll turn 20 this year, but unfortunately, that’ll be only after April 1st. I have plans to commemorate Seijin no Hi next year by going to the local shrine (yes, there are Shinto and Buddhist shrines in Brazil) and persuading my parents to give my b-day present some three months earlier . Maybe I also manage to convince another Japanophiles to join me, but am not sure. ^^;
I know it does not make much sense for a Brazilian who is not of Japanese descent to commemorate a holiday that has practically no importance outside the Land of the Rising Sun, but since I have the dream of living and working in Japan, I have this urge of trying to experience everything I can while I’m not there yet. ^^;;
If some of you turned or will turn 20 in the period between April 2nd 2009 and April 1st 2010, then let me say congratulations, or, to be more accurate, おめでとうございます。=)
Pics were randomly picked from talented photographers at Flickr.
Update: One of the pics wasn’t appearing, so I added a new one.